Tuesday

Meet Alawa (front, meaning “sweetpea” in Algonquin) and Zephyr (back, meaning “light or west wind”). They are captive-born gray wolves living in the Wolf Conservation Center

Alawa and litter-mate Zephyr were both born on April 20, 2011. Together with their younger brother Nikai, the third of the ambassador wolves born three years later, they help the center’s guests better understand and appreciate the importance and plight of their wild brothers and sisters.

Now, you’re probably used to seeing wolves howling under the light of a full moon, head tilted up high and standing stout, looking all majestic. Well, not these two. They can’t be bothered to stand up so instead they just tilt their heads whichever way they can and let out a howl—sometimes a strong one and other times a bit of a lazy one.

As soon as another wolf starts howling in the distance, Alawa and Zephyr start wailing in harmony in response to the remote howl. To many people’s surprise, the howling goes on for over two minutes, after which they simply go back to lazing around in the form of snoozing.

Turns out, among all of the wolves in the Wolf Conservation Center, Alawa is considered the “laziest howler”.

“They probably couldn’t resist responding to one of the other 40 wolves who call the Wolf Conservation Center home. Wolves howl to communicate with one another over long distances—they can hear a howl up to 10 miles away in open terrain! A howl can mean many things: a greeting, a rallying cry to gather the pack together, an announcement of their presence to warn other wolves away from their territory, or a spontaneous expression of play and bonding. Whatever the meaning, it never gets old!”

By howling, they are telling other wolves their location, warning about potential predators, and even communicating the position of their prey. They are also known to howl in unison as a way to strengthen the bond between members of the pack and to ward off any other rival packs.

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